(Columbia, SC) – The City of Columbia and the Columbia Food Policy Committee created a food access GIS (geographic information system) map that lists various sites to access healthy food for their whole family. Locations listed on the map include, grocery stores, farmer markets, food pantries, FoodShare produce box sites and free summer meal locations for youth ages 18 and below.
“We are excited to see technology being used for our citizens to make healthy choices. The Columbia Food Policy Committee has taken a great step to connect local businesses and our residents and create more positive health outcomes,” said Mayor Daniel Rickenmann.
“As traditional grocery stores have closed in certain areas, several grassroots organizations have stepped up to fill the void. However, these organizations often don’t have marketing budgets to get the word out and can be under-utilized. The map created by the Food Policy Council will help connect more people to the healthy food options that are available in the community,” said District I Councilwoman Tina Herbert.
The committee formed to address problems found within food production, consumption, processing, distribution, and waste disposal with the primary focus on finding solutions to problems that promote sustainability, economic development, and social justice in the food system of Columbia and surrounding areas.
“The Columbia Food Policy Committee collaborated with DHEC, FoodShare SC, Harvest Hope Food Bank, Department of Education, Central Midlands Council of Governments, Richland School District One and the city’s GIS Department to create a food access GIS map. This map would allow the community to access all locations that are providing food in and around the city of Columbia,” said Shana Catoe, Columbia Food Policy Committee Chair.
As the map continues to be updated throughout the year, citizens and organizations are encouraged to include food accessible sites, by emailing the Columbia Food Policy Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org. The map can be found by visiting https://gis.columbiasc.gov/